Botanical name: Mimusops elengi Family: Sapotaceae (Mahua family)
Spanish cherry is a lovely green small tree of the Indian subcontinent. With its small shiny, thick, narrow, pointed leaves, straight trunk and spreading branches, it is a prized oranamental specimen because it provides a dense shade and during the months from March to July fills the night air with the delicious heady aroma of its tiny cream colored flowers. Flowers are small, star-shaped, yellowish white in color, with a crown rising from the center. Oval leaves, wavy at margin, about 5-16 cm and 3-7 cm wide. In the morning the fragrant flowers which so graciously scented their surroundings with their deep, rich, fragrance during the evening hours, fall to the ground. People love to collect them as they retain their odor for many days after they fall. They are offered in temples and shrines throughout the country. Appears in Indian mythology as Vakula - said to put forth blossoms when sprinkled with nectar from the mouth of lovely women. Fruits are eaten fresh.
Medicinal uses: Various parts of the tree have medicinal properties. It is used in the treatment and maintenance of oral hygiene. Rinsing mouth with water solution made with bakul helps in strengthening the teeth. It also prevents bad breath and helps keep the gums healthy.
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